Blake Krikorian, a Hillsborough resident and founder of the popular mobile media viewing service Sling, was found dead after paddleboarding at a Pacifica beach, according to the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office. He was 48.
Krikorian started the company which invented Slingbox, a technology allowing users to remotely stream and access their home television service from their phones or computers.
His body was found next to his car around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica after he had finished paddleboarding, said county Coroner Robert Foucrault, who characterized his death as an “unfortunate accident.”
“It appears to be natural,” said Foucrault. “It doesn’t appear to be anything suspicious.”
Krikorian was the former CEO of Sling Media, the company he founded with his brother Jason in 2004. He also worked as the CEO of id8 Group, a home automation software company and joined the board of directors at Amazon in 2011, among a variety of other ventures.
Mark Vena, vice president of worldwide marketing at Sling Media, expressed his sympathy for the loss of his company’s inventor in a prepared statement.
“We are shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Blake’s passing. He was a true visionary who forever changed the content landscape when he envisioned the evolution of TV Anywhere over a decade ago with the founding of Slingbox,” Vena said.
As Bay Area natives, the Krikorian brothers found the inspiration to start Sling after becoming frustrated with their inability to watch San Francisco Giants baseball games while away from home, according to a 2008 interview he gave with UCLA Magazine, the publication of his alma mater.
Beyond his work at Sling, Krikorian was a well-respected and appreciated innovator, entrepreneur and investor recognized by many in Silicon Valley and the technology industry.
Marc Andreesen shared fond memories of Krikorian, who was a board partner at Andreesen Horowitz, the internationally recognized venture capital firm.
“Blake was the warmest, nicest, most genuine person in Silicon Valley and that’s not an exaggeration,” said Andreesen, via email. “We’ll miss him terribly.”
The Consumer Technology Association, a trade organization for the consumer electronics industry, recognized Krikorian’s legacy in a prepared statement.
“Blake was an extraordinary entrepreneur and imaginative mind, who envisioned place-shifting content via the Slingbox,” according to the organization’s CEO Gary Shapiro. “His innovative work lives on with the millions of people who enjoy the video content they purchased, no matter where they are in the world.”
Krikorian was a volunteer on the organization’s board of industry leaders, according to the press release, who offered mentorship and guidance to aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs.
“He achieved success at a very young age, but always remembered his roots and reached out to give a hand to those who needed it,” said Shapiro.
Jason Hirschorn, who worked as president of the media entertainment group at Sling, recalled fond memories of his former friend and colleague on Twitter.
“He was kind, brilliant and unique. A great husband, father, brother and son,” tweeted Hirschorn. “To me, the definition of best friend.”
Hirschorn characterized Krikorian as a committed father of two daughters and husband on Twitter.
“I admire Blake the most not for his business success but how great his wife and girls are,” he tweeted. “The three are the secret to his success.”
Vena also recognized Krikorian in his statement as a humanitarian who will not only be remembered as an inventor and innovator but as a compassionate and caring person.
“Outside of the company he was a friend to everyone and genuinely cared for people’s well-being, which is a rare virtue that no one at the company took for granted,” Vena said. “His impact and legacy reaches far beyond his work at Sling Media and his loss will be felt by many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
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